December 10, 2016

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-Allen has some of the most advanced hand usage for a college football player that I have seen. His technique and ability to shed blockers is elite, and pairing this with his explosive first step for a man of his size makes him an extremely difficult player to game plan for.


-Allen exhibits outstanding football IQ and is always around the ball during turnovers. He plays to his role on every snap and doesn't try to do anything outside of what's asked of him on any particular play. He will sometimes be asked to occupy two blockers to open up lanes for his outside linebackers, and some players in this situation will get greedy when plays break down for the offense and break from their job on the play, trying to get to the ballcarrier or passer. Not Allen. He stays disciplined and trusts his teammates to get it done.


-Allen is a tremendous athlete for being 280+ pounds and shows remarkable get off from the snap. We have all seen his breathtaking "Superman Sack" play, and I expect Allen to have one of the best 10 yard split times in Indianapolis for down defensive linemen. Allen even lines up as a fullback for Alabama on some goal line packages. 


-Allen's versatility along the defensive line is what makes him a bona-fide top 5 pick in this draft. His supreme talent would best be served as a 4-3 "power end" like Michael Bennett in Seattle, but he also can be extremely productive as a pass rushing 5-tech in a 3-4 defense. Move him inside at 3 technique on obvious passing downs and also reap those rewards. Translation: Allen's skill transcends scheme and he can play in any system. He played mostly as a 5-tech against Tennessee to take advantage of the Volunteers' lack of talent at the offensive tackle position, but lined up at 3-tech and 1-tech against Texas A&M to attack their weak interior. Allen will be used as a chess piece along the d-line.


-In addition to his ability to rush the passer, Allen showcases strong run defending skills and has the speed to go from his position on the line to hold edge contain on stretch runs. He rarely gets pushed backward on running plays and does a good job of not over-pursuing ballcarriers.


-Allen's favorite move is waiting for the offensive lineman to punch and set, then swim inside the A gap with violent hands to take the fastest, most direct route to the QB. Against Michigan State in the 2015 Cotton Bowl, Allen had two sacks going inside through A-gap using active, violent hands. To this end, however, Allen does an excellent job of lulling the lineman to sleep with this and then using the same move to the outside shoulder when the lineman over-anticipates, instead attacking up field through the B gap. Allen will be a monster for defensive coordinators who are stunt-heavy in their play calling.





-Ceiling. This was a question I had last year with Joey Bosa which obviously makes me look silly in retrospect. Allen's hand usage and technique is so refined already in his young career that one question he will likely be asked is how much higher can his ceiling possibly get. Has he already peaked in this regard? I think Allen can add some more weapons to his arsenal in terms of pass rush moves, but this is something to keep in mind.


-Allen can occasionally get paralyzed against zone read against dual-threat QBs. In the 3rd quarter against Texas A&M this year, Allen was frozen twice on back-to-back snaps, leading to big plays by the running back. Additionally, Allen needs to put his hands up more consistently when crashing passing lanes and not getting to the QB, so he can bat more passes down at the line.


-Although Allen's motor is great, I would not label it as elite. Typically, if Allen cannot get near the ballcarrier within 3.5 seconds, he will cut off his pursuit to preserve energy. It also helps to be on an elite defense where you can trust your teammates to make the plays that go away from you, and Allen likely won't have to play every down in the NFL, so this could change at the next level with more tempered snaps and a deeper rotation.


-As with a lot of the the Alabama guys, a question that needs to be asked is whether the prospect was productive because he was part of an elite starting 11 on defense that boasts NFL potential, or is he going to be an elite player at the next level even if he lands on a rebuilding team like the Cleveland Browns. For a player like Allen, he definitely falls in the latter category for us, but we are still going to ask this question for the Bama guys.






-Jonathan Allen conveys a no-nonsense attitude when he speaks and there is a strong sense of quiet confidence in his persona. All indications are that Allen is a leader in the locker room and has publically kept out of trouble during his time at Alabama. You can tell football is life for him - you'll be hard-pressed to find anything other than football or showing love to his teammates on his Twitter timeline.


-Allen has had some shoulder issues in his collegiate career, hurting himself during the first quarter during a 34-0 blowout against Louisiana-Monroe in 2015. In the offseason before the 2016 season, Allen had surgery on his shoulder, and you can believe that doctors will be poking and prodding him heavily at the Combine in Indy.








BEST FIT: 4-3 "Big End" or 3T; 5T in 3-4.





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